Importance of an Annual Fluid Health Check.

The new year is a key time for hydraulics. Machines, systems and equipment are started back up for another year of use, making it necessary to do a hydraulic fluid health check to identify whether or not contamination has occurred over the past 12 months. Over 96% of hydraulic system failures can be traced back to contaminated oil, contamination comes in a number of different forms, however the most common is Oxidation;

Over 96% of all hydraulic system failures can be traced to fluid that has been improperly cared for. As long as the hydraulic oil has not been damaged by overheating, it can (in most cases) be reused via Flushing or Filtration. If the hydraulic fluid is beyond repair it can be drained and replaced, this costly solution can be completely avoided by paying careful attention to the average running time of the machine/system and testing the hydraulic fluid at key times throughout the year.

- Philip Mason - Production Director, Tidyco Ltd

What to do if Contamination has Occurred.

If the hydraulic fluid is contamination free we recommend keeping a schedule where fluid is checked regularly to ensure this remains. If you find contamination, you have a number of options;

  • System Flushing, this method is used to eliminate contaminants such as particles and water from the fluid. Common practise requires sourcing a hydraulic specialist with access to a filter cart that links up to the system, flushes the oil through multiple filter elements and delivers clean oil back into the system.
  • Changing the hydraulic fluid, dependant on the size of the machinery/equipment this simple option will ensure you are operating with contamination free oil. All hydraulic machinery & equipment has an average running time e.g. 1000 – 1500 hours, when approaching this limit simply drain the old oil and replace with new for a fresh system.
  • Replacing Filters, this can be a more cost effective solution than replacing the entire tank of oil. There are a vast range of filters that can help clear out unwanted particles from hydraulic systems; spin-on, tank top, in-line and more. Tidyco supply over 5000 Parker Hannifin filters for use across a wide range of industries.
  • Changing Filter Elements, the most cost effective short term solution to target and reduce contamination. Filter elements can get clogged up with sludge, by changing your elements on a regular basis you can reduce the risk of contamination significantly at a very manageable cost.

Starting the new year with a clean healthy system/machine can be key in ensuring consistent operation through the most demanding months. The simple and most cost effective solution is replacing filter elements on a regular basis, Parker Par Fit filter elements are especially hard wearing and can be cross referenced with an array of fluid power brands such as; MP Filtri, Mahle, PTI, Pall and Rexroth.

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About the author

Barry Aldridge MCIM

Head of Marketing at Tidyco Limited and member of the Board of Directors for Midlands Rail Forum.